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Securities and Exchange Commission v. First Securities Co.

decided: August 1, 1972.


Hamley,*fn* Stevens and Sprecher, Circuit Judges.

Author: Sprecher

SPRECHER, Circuit Judge.

This is another sad chapter in the case of Leston B. Nay and the frauds he perpetrated over a long period of years against a great number of innocent investors. The record in this court in the prior appeal of 15 individual escrow participants, Olga Hochfelder et al., has been made part of the record in this appeal. SEC v. First Securities Co., 463 F.2d 981 (7 Cir. 1972).

The defendant in the equitable receivership, First Securities Company of Chicago, was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a broker-dealer in securities and was a member of the Midwest Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers. On June 4, 1968, Leston B. Nay, president of First Securities and owner of 92 percent of its stock, murdered his wife and committed suicide. He left a suicide note which described First Securities as bankrupt because of his thefts and which characterized the "Schueren account" as being one of "the thefts affecting the Company."

On June 10, 1968, the SEC initiated the receivership action against First Securities. The claim which is the subject matter of this appeal derives from Nay's theft of securities owned by Arnold C. Schueren. The district court appointed a special master to hear and determine the validity of the various claims against First Securities. In accordance with the recommendation and findings of the special master, the district court disallowed the instant claim on behalf of the estate of Arnold C. Schueren in its entirety, and this appeal followed.


On April 16, 1936, Arnold C. Schueren appointed Nay "to act for me in connection with all matters arising out of or in any way connected with my securities to the same extent and with the same full power and authority as I might personally do if present." On July 7, 1937, "without detracting from the general and specific powers contained in that instrument [of April 16, 1936], I further authorize and empower the said Leston B. Nay to sign in my behalf any proxies, transfers, acknowledgments, accounts, receipts or documents for my securities with the same power and authority as I would myself if present."

In July, 1939, Schueren received a letter headed "Webber, Darch & Company, Leston B. Nay, President" and signed Webber, Darch & Company "by Leston B. Nay." The letter stated, "In accordance with your recent request we are pleased to enclose inventory of securities held in safe keeping for your account;" an itemized inventory was enclosed.

Nay joined Ryan-Nichols & Co. as vice-president in 1942. Schueren received a letter dated July 31, 1942, on the letterhead of Ryan-Nichols & Co., signed Ryan-Nichols & Co. "by Leston B. Nay, Vice President." It said, "We have received from Webber, Darch & Co. the following securities, which we placed in safe keeping for your account;" following was an itemized list of securities. The name of Ryan-Nichols & Co. was changed to First Securities Company of Chicago on June 24, 1944, at about which time Nay became president and principal shareholder.

From 1946 through 1963, First Securities bought and sold securities for Schueren in bona fide transactions which appeared in the books and records of First Securities and which were not tainted by any defalcations of Nay. In connection with these transactions, Schueren received confirmations on the printed forms of First Securities.

For all his securities Schueren received safekeeping receipts. Those appearing in the record were on the printed forms of First Securities and acknowledged receipt by "First Securities Company of Chicago" and showing the typed names and written initials of Campbell, Burke and Walker.

Each month Schueren would receive an itemized list of dividends received on the securities purportedly in safekeeping for him, together with a cashier's check for the month's total dividends. Although a few of the dividend itemizations were on otherwise blank paper, the great majority were typed on the printed letterhead of First Securities with the further printed designation "Member, Midwest Stock Exchange."

Under date of March 17, 1959, Schueren received a complete inventory of his purported holdings, typed on the letterhead of First Securities. Schueren found three discrepancies between his own records of his holdings and those on the March 17 inventory list. He pointed them out to Nay, who wrote Schueren a letter dated March 26, 1959, on the printed letterhead of First Securities, acknowledging the three errors and ascribing them to the typist.

Schueren died in 1967; the Union Bank and Trust Company was appointed his executor. The bank then wrote Nay requesting all of Schueren's securities. On April 27, 1967, Nay sent the bank what purported to be a complete inventory of the Schueren holdings, typed on sheets stamped with the name of First Securities. For more than a year, Nay corresponded with the bank and pretended to be in the process of obtaining transfers of the Schueren securities. When on June 4, 1968, he finally told the bank that the security transfers had been completed and were ready for ...

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